Tigers gearing up for 2012 football season

Friday, August 3, 2012
Marshall County's Barry Mayes makes a back shoulder catch during a receiving drill on Tuesday. Photos by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

Football practices became more physical for the Marshall County Tigers this week, as they joined hundreds of other teams across the state in donning full pads for the first time on Monday.

While new head coach Aaron Pitts is in the process of adding some new wrinkles to MCHS' offensive and defensive schemes, his primary concern at this stage of the preseason is making sure his team is fundamentally sound.

"We're just trying to get the fundamentals down of blocking and tackling. We look a little sloppy right now, but that was expected with putting in a new system. Guys are thinking instead of reacting," said Pitts. "We want them to be physical, but we're trying to make sure they block and tackle correctly. We want them to get the fundamentals down and do things right."

Marshall County quarterback Austin Stacey completes a pass to wide receiver Dontae Horton during a passing drill on Tuesday.

Although the Tigers return a number of starters from last year's squad that went 9-4 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Class 4A playoffs, Pitts insists that he isn't simply going to hand his veteran players a spot in the starting lineup.

"It's an open competition everywhere. We're trying to find guys that fit our system. We're not going to change too much, but this is our time to evaluate them," said Pitts. "I'm sure a lot of the guys that started last year will start again this year, but it's still an open competition and we want them to earn their spots."

With the Marshall County coaching staff trying to find a replacement for departed tailback Trevor Irizarry, who broke MCHS' single season rushing record last year, the Tiger defense currently holds the upper hand over the offense after yielding just 13.3 points per game during the 2011 campaign.

Marshall County running back Malik Crawford heads upfield after catching an option pitch from quarterback Austin Stacey.

"I think without a doubt the defense will be the strength of our team and we should have a good defensive line. I'm a defensive guy anyway," said Pitts. "Our secondary still needs some work, but we have some good players back there that are going to get better."

MCHS football fans will have a chance to check out the Tigers on Friday, August 10th, when they take on the Shelbyville Golden Eagles in the Marshall County Chamber of Commerce Pigskin Preview at Preston Hopkins Field.

Marshall County's Mario Nicholson hauls in a pass during a receiving drill on Tuesday.